Author, YM Raja Suzana Raja Kasim
Marketers across the world
are showing increasing interest in “evangelism marketing” as a means of addressing effective marketing. The most effective marketing has always relied on word of mouth.
In Malaysia, this term evangelism marketing could be seen as a relatively novel concept, it lacks an established definition. Most broadly, it can refer to how small businesses put an effort to engage spokespeople for the products the businesses wish to market.
As effective marketing tends to rely on word of mouth, the satisfied customers become evangelists for the brand. For example, in-house staffers, managers and salespeople can carry their enthusiasm about the products to customers to win them over.
As an example, consider several great brands such as Levi Strauss, Nike, Harley-Davidson and Virgin. These products have all achieved humanness. The youthfulness of Levi Strauss, the gutsiness of Nike, the rebelliousness of Harley-Davidson and the enchantment of Virgin. It may be much easier to evangelise a product that is rooted in human values.
Target the Young
No matter who buys the product, targeting young people forces an individual to buy a human brand. To name one local example: Naelofar Hijab is a brand portraying Neelofa, who is a Malaysia actress, television presenter, a commercial model and an entrepreneur.
The Naelofar Hijab is sold in more than 37 countries including Brunei, Indonesia, Australia, UAE, United Kingdom and Europe. As spokespeople of her own brand and targeted the young market, the design of her “Be Lofa Turban” was sold out in less than 24 hours after launching.
The primary motivation was not alone about the price of Neelofa’s brand, but targeting young people have made her design achieved humanness, for example, design hijab for female pilots of AirAsia and AirAsia X.
Make Fun of Yourself
Most companies appear to be incapable of making fun of themselves. “Qu Puteh, Qu Puteh, Barulah Putih” is a line tattooed in the minds of many Malaysians. The owner of Vida Beauty, Dato Seri Vida is another good example of an evangelist of her own.
According to the TV3, the tagline of “Qu Puteh, Qu Puteh” has been repeated by many Malaysia’s top TV stars, while she herself had spent RM20 million on marketing and advertising. Her bold move forward and sense of humour appears to take the good spotlight.
Feature your Goal: Make Entrepreneurship Easier
Guy Kawasaki, for example, is one of the best examples of global product evangelist. In 1983, Apple Computers was a struggling high-tech company; and had hired Kawasaki who believed that it is much easier to evangelise a product that is rooted in human values.
Kawasaki founded three companies, invested in ten and advised organisations as small as two people and as large as Google. The author has a chance to personally interview him during his talk to the Stanford Technology Venture Program and the Faculty team at the Stanford University, California, USA.
Along knowing him as the chief evangelist of a startup called Canva, his goal is simple and pure: Kawasaki wants the world to know how he wanted to make entrepreneurship easier and that people of the company should have brave souls bringing new products to market and humanise the marketing.
What is fun? Fun is when Richard Branson lost a bet and wore a skirt in public. That particular stunt was not only fun, but human too. Richard Branson as always featured in mainstream media channels such as Forbes, is the brainchild of a barrister and flight attendant and got his start with a mail-order record business some 50 years ago.
“Virgin” is his brand name, including Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Galactic. Branson was once lost a bet to Tony Fernandes, the owner of AirAsia. Because he lost, Branson has to shave his legs and apply lipstick.
In order to celebrate the loss, as well as the human value, he also has to dress up as a flight attendant and work on the AirAsia flight for a few hours.
Evangelist Marketing: Make People Believe in the Product
The benefits of Evangelist Marketing, wherever it arises, accrue to consumer society as a whole rather than individuals, although in some cases socially innovative products, services, or projects can also produce profits and investment returns. As the concept of Evangelist Marketing has gained currency, more efforts have been made to
bring rigour to the marketing field by defining the term more clearly and analysing best practices in its application.
Evangelism comes from the Greek word that means, “to proclaim the good news.” In the example of Guy Kawasaki, he was Apple’s second software evangelist and he was very successful in proclaiming the good news that Macintosh could make people more creative and productive. When consumer society believes in the product, they will help you succeed through credible, continuous and cost-effective proselytization—urging or persuading society to change their beliefs. This article explains the art to achieve humanness using evangelist marketing.
YM Prof Dr. Hjh Raja Suzana Raja Kasim is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management at Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK). Follow her on ResearchGate.